Fox News Channel’s Thursday-night coverage of the latest Republican debate lured 16.9 million viewers, according to early data from Nielsen, making it the highest-rated debate of 2016. The debate, moderated by Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace, delivered 5.5 million viewers between 25 and 54, the demographic most coveted by advertisers.-important younger 25-54 demo.
CNN and Telemundo’s coverage of a February 25 Republican debate notched 14.23 million viewers and 4 million viewers in the 25-to-54 demo.
The event marked the return of Republican candidate Donald Trump to the Fox News debate stage. The candidate in January elected to skip the event in favor of holding his own press conference. The Fox News Channel broadcast of that event lured nearly 12.47 million viewers overall and 3.47 million viewers between 25 and 54.
The debate ranks as the fourth-highest primary debate in history, according to Nielsen, and was the second highest-rated telecast in Fox News Channel’s nearly 20 years on the air. The 21st Century Fox-owned cable outlet holds the record for the highest-rated non-sports cable telecast of all time with its August 6th GOP presidential primary debate, also moderated by Baier, Kelly and Wallace.
A special post-debate broadcast of “The O’Reilly Factor” at 11 p.m. last night attracted 7.4 million viewers, making it the show’s highest-rated telecast of 2016.